My decision to study Medicine neither stems from a childhood dream, nor a specific moment in my past. Instead, it is the result of years of deliberating my interest to pursue a scientific course which allows me to directly improve people's well-being.
Medicine's forward-thinking nature intrigues me most, as it builds on what is already known in order to better the lives of others. Work experience allowed me to truly understand the breadth of the field and I was able to see first-hand what it meant to be a doctor. Never had I appreciated the sheer skill and resolve of a doctor until I had stood in the operating theatre for hours at the side of a surgeon performing countless cataract operations. Despite only being a thirty-minute operation, such a procedure can require years of build-up - from the initial diagnosis from a GP, to the ophthalmologist conducting retinal exams, to finally the moment of being anaesthetized. Furthermore, it was really endearing to see how the doctor and patient would converse immediately afterwards, both clearly overjoyed at the success of the operation. Elsewhere, I was able to shadow GPs who showed me the workings of primary care. The routine check-ups I witnessed allowed me to see the side of Medicine which is not as glamorous, but is every bit as crucial, as major procedures. However, even during such consultations, I saw how compassionately doctors treated their patients and the respect with which patients listened to the advice of their doctors. Indeed, whilst visiting my grandmother at her hospital in Sri Lanka two summers ago, I spent many days observing the workings of the medical field there and noticed universality to the trustful dynamic between doctor and patient, regardless of the location.
My voluntary work at a care home as part of my National Citizen Service allowed me to experience this for myself. Simply conversing with the residents was rewarding because they were so open and glad to meet new people - something I want to experience in my working life. The subjects I study reflect my interest in the science I want to learn, but also have breadth to them, allowing me to acquire different skills. I find genetics and pathology particularly interesting and pursued this interest by writing an essay for a school competition discussing the genetic causes of ocular melanoma (a disease I was familiarized with during work experience). I delved into James Watson's famous "DNA: The Secret of Life" - an extremely interesting read not only detailing the famous discovery of the structure of DNA, but also the genetics of disease and the future of gene technology. In addition, a particularly interesting lecture at the Cambridge Medical Symposium followed the workings of a pathologist.
Aside from biology and chemistry, I also study mathematics - which has allowed me to hone my problem-solving skills - and English Literature. Although off-piste, the study of literary texts has allowed me to improve my reasoning and critical thinking abilities. All these skills, I believe, are crucial when studying and practicing Medicine.
I am a member of my school's Medical Society and I have been teaching at a center for over a year. Teaching has proven to require determination and patience and observing a student's progress to success is similar to the doctors I have seen carefully monitoring a case. In both instances, the sense of achievement at the end is extremely gratifying.
Medicine is a career path which I know will have its drawbacks. Long hours, emotional and physical stress and failures are all inevitable. However, the progressive essence of Medicine is what makes it such an attractive course for me - in which the positives and rewards far outweigh the negatives. I would cherish a career rooted in improving people's welfare whilst also satisfying my inquisitive nature for science - and no other career offers that.
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